Warning: Read your dog food bag – Some grain free dog foods are causing disease in dogs
Dog owners became educated to the correlation between grains, fillers and soy in dog food and the increased incidence of allergies, skin problems and digestive upset. As owners began reading labels and started choosing grain free, dog food manufacturers had to scramble to remove corn, wheat and soy. Sweet and white potatoes and peas quickly became replacement fillers. The newest trend in grain free food is legumes; peas and pea protein, chickpea and lentils.
The idea of grain free was supposed to create dog foods that did not induce allergic responses. Grain free should have meant, get rid of the fillers and the ingredients used to cheapen the cost of creating a diet for carnivores. Unfortunately, dog foods have just become more dangerous.
Did you see the episode during “predator” week were the pack of wild dogs on whatever continent worked as a team to circle and bring down that field of peas? Or the one where the wolf pack walked right by the Elk herd to get to the field of lentils? Yes, it’s ridiculous. And yet so is what are we feeding our dogs?
Dogs are carnivores; which means they are designed to eat primarily muscle meat, organ meat, and bones with a slight amount of slightly digested greens and even some fermented vegetables. Instead of adding more muscle and organ meat, dog food companies have maintained protein levels while reducing costs by adding legumes and peas as protein sources. The problem is that legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are incomplete proteins. Complete proteins are those that contain all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. Animal proteins are complete proteins. Legumes have little nutritional value and they have a lot of radically dangerous properties when included in a primary diet for a canine.
Legumes contain phytates which are known to reduce mineral absorption in the bowel. Phytic acid impairs the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium. Additionally, phytates reduce the digestion of protein, fats and starches. Legumes also contain lectins which are directly related to leaky gut, inflammation of the stomach and digestive tract. Ironically, legumes are high in protease inhibitors, which keep proteins from being properly broken down and absorbed contributing to leaky gut, inflammation, and allergic reactions. Legumes are high in carbs - adding weight and affecting blood sugar. Carbohydrates are being directly correlated to an increase of heart disease in humans as well as canines. Legumes are also high in phytoestrogens (plant derived estrogen)which elevates estrogen within the body and disrupts the normal hormonal balance.
Ruminant animals are designed to eat grains, grasses and legumes. Dogs are not digestively equipped to eat the food that we are now being offered to feed them. Although dogs are designed to eat and metabolize protein, dog food is not only lacking sufficient amounts of animal protein but it is also includes ingredients that block the metabolism of protein and reduces its absorption while irritating the stomach and intestines. Increases in diarrhea, vomiting, allergies and even behavior problems are the result of feeding a diet that is not species appropriate. In addition to diabetes, weight gain, allergies, and serious digestive problems, the FDA has cautioned that the increase in legumes is contributing to an increase of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) that ultimately leads to heart failure.
Ironically, the increase in allergies and digestive upset has increased the incidence of dogs being diagnosed to require a prescription dog food. Shockingly, the corn, soy, and hydrolyzed protein prescription diets are actually better tolerated than the high-end grain free food. The answer is not prescription food that long term will create its own problems for the dog but real food. Dog food made from real meat that includes both muscle and organ meat as well as seasonal greens and minimal vegetables.
If you want to learn more about dog food, vaccines, and a repeat of The Truth About Pet Cancer series, join us for Scholarly Sunday Sessions at noon on Sundays starting Septmeber 9th at The Pet Campus, Inc.